How Trump can win the debate

Story highlights

  • Debate coach Ed Lee: People expect a level of seriousness when it comes to presidential debates
  • Lee on Trump: What if the bombastic candidate focused on issues, not personalities?

Ed Lee is the senior director of debate in the Barkley Forum Center for Debate Education at Emory University, where he has been a debate coach since 2004 and has received national awards for his work. The opinions expressed in this commentary are his.

(CNN)In Donald Trump's favorite movie, "Citizen Kane," Charles Foster Kane, a wealthy newspaper owner with political ambitions, leads in the polls during a race to determine New York's next governor until scandal unceremoniously cuts short his candidacy.

Ed Lee
Numerous political commentators predict a similar political demise for Trump. While no one suggests that Trump will fall victim to a sordid extramarital affair like Kane, many predict that Trump's hubris, bravado and disdain for civility will ultimately undermine his political ambitions. Despite his current front-runner status in the Republican contest, some suggest that his inability to act presidential at the first debate, in Cleveland on Thursday, will begin Trump's swift and precipitous decline.
    No one can deny that Trump's current strategy has produced magnificent results.
    With the Republican field the largest in history, Trump looks to walk onto the Quicken Loans Arena stage ahead of the pack. The most recent Quinnipiac University poll finds Trump garnering 20% of voter support and a significant 7% lead over his closest rival, Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin.